Texas Transportation Code as Applied to Bicycles

Cycling STCC Logo Web Settings LawDid you ever wonder how Texas State Law applies to bicycles?  You, as a cyclist, are required to follow the same laws and act as any other vehicle on the road.  There are some exceptions applied specifically to cyclists.  The section of the Texas Transportation Code which specifies exceptions and direct application is copied below.  Look it over, know your rights and duties as a cyclist.

When to Ride Two Abreast

Why is that on some two lane roads our group stays two up?

Because the law states that you must not “impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic”, it is acceptable to ride two abreast when no traffic is present.  It’s a judgement call from the Ride Leader as to when to require the group to single up, however there are some roads where we regularly encounter vehicles that we always ride single file.  Examples of these are Prosper Trail from Preston to Coit, Coit between 1st Street and 1461, King Rd between Witt and Rose Ln.

Isn’t it easier for cars to pass us if we’re two up?

There is an ongoing debate as to whether riding single file makes it more difficult for cars to pass as the group is then twice the length as it is when cyclists ride two abreast.  While the discussion has some merit, the law requires you to ride single file in some conditions and you can be ticketed if you do not follow that requirement.

Texas Transportation Code

§ 551.103. OPERATION ON ROADWAY.

         (c)  Persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast.  Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane.  Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway.  Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.

Bicycle Rack Obscuring License Plate

My bike rack obscures my license plate, is that against the law?

No, there is an exception for bicycle and motorcycle racks.

§ 504.945 Section C, item 4. WRONG, FICTITIOUS, ALTERED, OR OBSCURED LICENSE PLATE.

...

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (e), an offense under Subsection (a) is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $200, unless it is shown at the trial of the offense that the owner knowingly altered or made illegible the letters, numbers, and other identification marks, in which case the offense is a Class B misdemeanor.

(c) Subsection (a)(7) may not be construed to apply to:

(1) a trailer hitch installed on a vehicle in a normal or customary manner;

(2) a transponder, as defined by Section 228.057, that is attached to a vehicle in the manner required by the issuing authority;

(3) a wheelchair lift or wheelchair carrier that is attached to a vehicle in a normal or customary manner;

(4) a trailer being towed by a vehicle; or

(5) a bicycle or motorcycle rack that is attached to a vehicle in a normal or customary manner.

(d) A court may dismiss a charge brought under Subsection (a)(3), (5), (6), or (7) if the defendant:

(1) remedies the defect before the defendant's first court appearance;

(2) pays an administrative fee not to exceed $10; and

(3) shows that the vehicle was issued a plate by the department that was attached to the vehicle, establishing that the vehicle was registered for the period during which the offense was committed.

(e) An offense under Subsection (a)(4) is a Class B misdemeanor.

 

 

TRANSPORTATION CODE

TITLE 7. VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC

SUBTITLE C. RULES OF THE ROAD

CHAPTER 551. OPERATION OF BICYCLES, MOPEDS, AND PLAY VEHICLES

SUBCHAPTER A. APPLICATION OF CHAPTER

Sec. 551.001. PERSONS AFFECTED.

Except as provided by Subchapter C, this chapter applies only to a person operating a bicycle on:

(1) a highway; or

(2) a path set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1318, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
Sec. 551.002. MOPED AND ELECTRIC BICYCLE INCLUDED.

A provision of this subtitle applicable to a bicycle also applies to:

(1) a moped, other than a provision that by its nature cannot apply to a moped; and

(2) an electric bicycle, other than a provision that by its nature cannot apply to an electric bicycle.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1085, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
SUBCHAPTER B. REGULATION OF OPERATION

Sec. 551.101. RIGHTS AND DUTIES.

(a) A person operating a bicycle has the rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a vehicle under this subtitle, unless:

(1) a provision of this chapter alters a right or duty; or

(2) a right or duty applicable to a driver operating a vehicle cannot by its nature apply to a person operating a bicycle.

(b) A parent of a child or a guardian of a ward may not knowingly permit the child or ward to violate this subtitle.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
Sec. 551.102. GENERAL OPERATION.

(a) A person operating a bicycle shall ride only on or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle.

(b) A person may not use a bicycle to carry more persons than the bicycle is designed or equipped to carry.

(c) A person operating a bicycle may not use the bicycle to carry an object that prevents the person from operating the bicycle with at least one hand on the handlebars of the bicycle.

(d) A person operating a bicycle, coaster, sled, or toy vehicle or using roller skates may not attach either the person or the bicycle, coaster, sled, toy vehicle, or roller skates to a streetcar or vehicle on a roadway.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
Sec. 551.103. OPERATION ON ROADWAY.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, unless:

(1) the person is passing another vehicle moving in the same direction;

(2) the person is preparing to turn left at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway;

(3) a condition on or of the roadway, including a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or surface hazard prevents the person from safely riding next to the right curb or edge of the roadway; or

(4) the person is operating a bicycle in an outside lane that is:

(A) less than 14 feet in width and does not have a designated bicycle lane adjacent to that lane; or

(B) too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.

(b) A person operating a bicycle on a one-way roadway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of the roadway.

(c) Persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.

(d) Repealed by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1085, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1085, Sec. 10, 13, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
Sec. 551.104. SAFETY EQUIPMENT.

(a) A person may not operate a bicycle unless the bicycle is equipped with a brake capable of making a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

(b) A person may not operate a bicycle at nighttime unless the bicycle is equipped with:

(1) a lamp on the front of the bicycle that emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet in front of the bicycle; and

(2) on the rear of the bicycle:

(A) a red reflector that is:

(i) of a type approved by the department; and

(ii) visible when directly in front of lawful upper beams of motor vehicle headlamps from all distances from 50 to 300 feet to the rear of the bicycle; or

(B) a lamp that emits a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of the bicycle.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1085, Sec. 11, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
Sec. 551.105. COMPETITIVE RACING. (a) In this section, "bicycle" means a nonmotorized vehicle propelled by human power.

(b) A sponsoring organization may hold a competitive bicycle race on a public road only with the approval of the appropriate local law enforcement agencies.

(c) The local law enforcement agencies and the sponsoring organization may agree on safety regulations governing the movement of bicycles during a competitive race or during training for a competitive race, including the permission for bicycle operators to ride abreast.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
Sec. 551.106. REGULATION OF ELECTRIC BICYCLES. (a) The department or a local authority may not prohibit the use of an electric bicycle on a highway that is used primarily by motor vehicles. The department or a local authority may prohibit the use of an electric bicycle on a highway used primarily by pedestrians.

(b) The department shall establish rules for the administration of this section.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1085, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

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